Connor Gibson's blog

The Koch Brothers Dished Out $21M to Front Groups Defending Exxon In NYT Ad

This is a guest post by Connor Gibson, crossposted from Greenpeace USA

The Kochs have spent over $88 million in *traceable* funding to groups attacking climate change science, policy and regulation.

Of that total, $21 million went to groups that recently bought a full page New York Times advertisement defending ExxonMobil from government investigations into its systematic misrepresentation of climate science. If you're an executive at a big oil company watching as ExxonMobil is finally exposed for studying climate change, covering up the science and spreading misinformation, you're probably worried now that state attorneys general are knocking on Exxon's door.

Charles and David Koch must be worried, anyway. Their foundations gave more than $21 million to the people and groups that signed a recent, full page New York Times advertisement that defends ExxonMobil's longstanding efforts to ruin the public's understanding of climate change science.

Koch Controversy at George Mason University: Student Abandons Economics Major

This is a guest post by Connor Gibson, originally published at Huffington Post.

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA. As the Spring, 2016 semester concluded, George Mason University sophomore Mark Hammond made a daring announcement: he ditched GMU’s economics department out of concern that Kansas billionaire Charles Koch’s preferences took precedence over his education.

GMU’s student paper, the Fourth Estate, apparently forgot to publish Mark’s op-ed online. I am republishing Mark’s writing here, with his permission. I added references to the text myself.

Charles Koch Thinks University Professors Make Great Lobbyists

This is a guest post by Connor Gibson that originally appeared at Huffington Post. 

This article is the second of two posts examining Charles Koch's campus investments, as reported in Jane Mayer's Dark Money. The first post examined the history, long-term strategy, and true intent of the university “philanthropy” coordinated by Charles Koch. This post examines how Koch's academic network is openly dishonest about their work, lobbying for Koch's interests and recruiting students into his network.

From 2005-2014, Koch spent $109.7 million on 361 distinct campuses, according to Greenpeace's updated analysis of IRS filings from Koch's nonprofit foundations.

Koch Brothers View Universities As Propaganda Machines

This is a guest post by Connor Gibson that originally appeared at Huffington Post.

This article is the first of two posts examining Charles Koch's campus investments, as reported in Jane Mayer's Dark Money. The first post examines the history, long-term strategy, and true intent of the university “philanthropy” coordinated by Charles Koch. The second post will examine how Koch's academic network is openly dishonest about their work, lobbying for Koch's interests and recruiting students into his network.
 
New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer’s new book, “Dark Money,” includes details that bolster concerns publicized by UnKoch My Campus, and students and professors across the USA who have blown the whistle on Charles Koch’s co-optation of higher education programs.
 
Universities are the spine of Charles Koch’s lobbying model, which after four decades of finance has grown into an integrated network of professors, public relations agents, lobbyists, pundits, and politicians. Koch foundations started investing in campuses at an exponential pace, starting with just seven campuses in 2005.

Charles Koch Admits Climate Change is Happening, Then Denies the Problem

As the nation warily watches every Republican presidential candidate kiss the ring of billionaire donor Charles Koch for a shot at his network's $300,000,000 pool of presidential cash, Charles Koch did something unusual. Last week's USA Today interview with Charles Koch noted his shifting opinion on what he calls climate change “hysteria:”

For the record, Koch says this of climate change: “You can plausibly say that CO2 has contributed” to the planet's warming, but he sees “no evidence” to support “this theory that it's going to be catastrophic.”

Wait…Charles Koch just accepted that the planet is warming? Hold your applause.

Willie Soon's Climate Science Denial Wasn't Ever Credible: Climate Scientists

Willie Soon climate science denial

“The science that Willie Soon does is almost pointless.” - NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, to the New York Times

Recent revelations regarding Smithsonian scientist Willie Soon's financing and coordination with fossil fuel companies for studies undermining the science of climate change has received quite a bit of attention. Our friends at the Climate Investigations Center have links to source documents, letters to the IRS and Congress, letters to journals that Soon appears to have mislead, and some of the press covering all of this.

The drama has largely outshone the main point among most scientists: Willie Soon's work is vastly discredited. For those who aren't familiar with Willie Soon's fossil fuel company contracting over the last fifteen years, there is probably a legitimate question of whether or not this guy deserves to be in his current pinch.

Frankly, he had it coming.

Scientists and science reporters have often had to waste their time addressing the interference of Soon and his cohorts, who take advantage of the public's general unfamiliarity with scientific nuance. 

But scientists too are talking about Dr. Soon's work and what it means for the troubled peer-review process that the most stringent journals usually adhere to. Here is a summary of some of the most interesting conversations in science publications about Willie Soon's #Fakexpert scandal.

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